The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and the Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) are recent recipients of a $10,000 economic development grant through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). These funds will be used to develop and implement a design thinking workshop in the Mankato area to spur innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.
The CIE is housed within the MNSU College of Business. The organization aims to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers in south-central Minnesota by providing entrepreneurial education, supporting student startups, and facilitating impactful student project work in the community.
The overall goal of the workshop is to increase the number of innovative projects submitted to the Big Ideas Challenge, a venture competition for current and recent Minnesota State University, Mankato students and to the DMC Assistive Tech Challenge, a competition to develop new products and services for persons with disabilities. The inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge debuted in November 2018 as a partnership between Destination Medical Center Discovery Square, The ARC Minnesota SE Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group. Three MNSU teams submitted applications to the Challenge; two of the submissions were accepted into the competition.
“The founding of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship by the University College of Business was spurred by a variety of things, including a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation report about the potential of this area and need for coordination and the types of things the Center now provides,” explains CIE Director, Dr. Yvonne Cariveau.
Cariveau says students come to the CIE interested in entrepreneurship but sometimes cannot identify the next immediate step in development of their concepts. She hopes this design workshop will give her students tools to generate ideas and to act.
DMC EDA aims to expand the Assistive Tech Challenge to additional universities across the region. “This collaboration with the CIE serves as a critical pilot project to bring a quality design thinking workshop to the Mankato area and also functions as a test for future expansions of the workshop to other communities,” said Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for DMC Discovery Square. “The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to provide a framework through which students can develop additional business ideas and eventual products.”
Cariveau and Schad both hope the workshops ultimately ignite interest in assistive tech and health care innovation, building strong connections between Rochester and Mankato’s entrepreneurs.
INCubatoredu is a year-long course available to all RPS high school students in grades 11 and 12 (Century, John Marshall, Mayo, and RALC). Students have the opportunity to create and fully develop their own product or service. Real entrepreneurs and business experts serve as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the processes of developing hypotheses about a business concept, testing those hypotheses, adapting, and continually learning and improving. This cycle of experimentation is combined with foundational business content such as marketing and finance. The course concludes with students pitching their ideas to investors to generate seed money to grow their operations.
“Entrepreneurship teaches to the heart of 21st Century skills: adaptability, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving,” says Superintendent Michael Muñoz. “We know this program will ignite passion among our students and community. It is critical for us to partner with our talented and supportive community because their contributions will immediately impact the lives of our students.”
The School District is working to establish volunteer mentors, a licensed teacher, and a downtown Rochester space for the INCubatoredu program in the coming months, recognizing that a downtown space is an ideal location for community experts and mentors, as well as offering a real-world business setting for students.
Growing and amplifying the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a priority for Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA). Chris Schad, DMC EDA’s director of business development for Discovery Square and a collaborator in Rochester’s startup community, is energized by this new program.
“The students of Rochester Public Schools have a history of going out into the world to positively impact communities near and far. This program will not only help students develop skills that most entrepreneurs have to learn on the fly, it will help develop new businesses and jobs and keep talent in our region,” notes Schad.
Workforce needs continue to grow in and around the region, and the incoming president of Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) is dedicated to helping meet those needs.
Jeffery Boyd, former provost of the Norfolk campus of Virginia’s Tidewater Community College, began his new role as the 17th president of RCTC, Minnesota’s oldest community college, on July 1.
Boyd’s dedication to career and technical education and advocacy for the role it plays in growing a strong and prosperous workforce aligns directly with the goals of the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative. Learn more about his journey to RCTC and why he feels Rochester is “a city on the move.”
The University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) has been an increasingly influential presence in downtown Rochester since it first opened its doors in 2006. The institution is dedicated to inspiring and empowering its students to solve healthcare challenges of the 21st century by engaging them in a one-of-a-kind, hands-on learning experience.
Just south of Destination Medical Center’s (DMC) Discovery Square sub-district, UMR will serve as the cornerstone of DMC’s Education & Recreation sub-district focused on the innovation, creativity, and education that sets Rochester apart from other cities of its size.
UMR welcomed its second chancellor, Dr. Lori Carrell, in February 2018 after the university’s inaugural chancellor Dr. Stephen Lehmkuhle retired at the close of the 2017 school year. As progress at UMR keeps pace with the rest of downtown, Dr. Carrell’s leadership will be integral to the future of the institution and the forward-thinking minds it produces.
Rochester has a reputation for developing the innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers of tomorrow. The 45-plus two- and four-year higher education institutions that operate within 90 miles of Rochester further positions the city as a national leader in workforce development.
At the downtown Winona State University-Rochester (WSU-R) location, Associate Vice President Jeanine Gangeness engages with other local post-secondary institutions and the business community to develop academic programming that will meet the career needs facing the region today and in the future.
DMC connected with Dr. Gangeness to learn more about her priorities for WSU-R in the coming year and the simple reason she believes the Destination Medical Center initiative is so critical.
Ranked as the 16th Best College Town in America by Business Insider, southeastern Minnesota’s reputation for talent development is recognized nationally. But what’s not as widely known is the unique collaboration taking place between higher education and the business community to help address the area’s growing workforce needs.
Now, with construction for DMC’s signature Discovery Square building officially underway, working together to ensure Rochester has the skilled workforce to meet the needs of the region is becoming increasingly important.
DMC is partnering with Winona State University-Rochester to conduct research into the gaps that currently exist in the local educational offerings and how to be intentional about filling those gaps as we develop future programming, specifically related to entrepreneurialism.
The world is changing fast. As technologies evolve, innovations emerge, and current models of education and employment shift, how do we ensure our youth are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow?
The Boys & Girls Club of Rochester is taking a new approach to job skills development for Rochester youth with the opening of a new downtown ice cream shop. The Chocolate Twist will occupy the main floor of the Paine Furniture building, which is prominently located in the Heart of the City. The shop will not only offer personal and professional development opportunities for teens, it will also create an additional revenue stream for the Boys & Girls Club.
With more than 45 two- and four-year postsecondary institutions within 90 miles of Rochester, the city is a breeding ground for thinkers and innovators. The state’s strategic focus on world-class education is also positioning Minnesota as national leaders in workforce development.
DMC sat down with WSU-R’s associate vice president, Jeanine Gangeness, to learn more about the college’s presence in Rochester and plans for growth.
The DMC vision is not one that can be accomplished alone – or overnight. But with the advancements that took place on the DMC Development Plan over the past year, Rochester is well on its way to becoming a premier global medical destination.
It doesn’t take an urban planner to recognize the qualities it takes for a city to be successful. DMC is in the middle of it all: growth, investment, culture, community, innovation… the list goes on. And Rochester is hitting the mark on each attribute, ensuring 2017 will be another year of success.
“. . . From a world-class education comes an unparalleled workforce ready to innovate in Minnesota’s growing economy. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been at the forefront of our innovation economy as chair of the board of the Destination Medical Center Corp., an ambitious public-private partnership to grow Mayo Clinic and the city of Rochester into America’s City for Health. Smith and I have also worked closely with the University of Minnesota Medical School to ensure that our world-class medical facilities and technology companies have access to the best-trained medical workforce in our nation. Together these efforts will help ensure growth and opportunity for health care, businesses and residents for decades to come.”